Wednesday, October 7, 2015

NASCAR Top 10 Power Rankings: Week 29

By Jeffrey Boswell

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

1. Matt Kenseth — Kenseth started on the pole after qualifying was canceled and finished seventh at Dover, easily advancing to the Contender Round.

"And then there were 12," Kenseth said. "Now, we're headed to Charlotte, where speeds can reach upwards of 180 miles per hour. And, if history is any indication, the cars won't be the only thing flying — fists will be, as well."

2. Kevin Harvick — Harvick dominated at Dover leading 355 of 400 laps and winning when he had to.

"I advanced," Harvick said. "Jimmie Johnson retreated. And that's certainly not the first time."

3. Kyle Busch — Busch finished second in the AAA 400 and advanced to the next round of the Chase For the Cup.

"It's all about surviving and advancing," Busch said. "And I did them both at the same time. Add those to the list of things I can do all at once, which includes 'Whip and Nae Nae.'"

4. Denny Hamlin — Hamlin, already into the next round with his win at New Hampshire, finished 18th at Dover.

"I took a nice, leisurely Sunday drive," Hamlin said. "That wasn't the case for everyone. I'm not saying Kevin Harvick drives like a man possessed, by he emerges from his hauler like a man possessed."

5. Carl Edwards — Edwards finished 15th at Dover, and is one of four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers to qualify for the round of 12.

"Kevin Harvick didn't waste any time taking over the lead," Edwards said. "He took off like a bat out of hell, or just like the way he left Richard Childress Racing."

6. Joey Logano — Logano finished tenth at Dover, posting his 23rd top-10 of the year. He advances to the Contender Round of the Chase.

"Kevin Harvick showed why he's the reigning champion," Logano said. "Jimmie Johnson showed why the Chase format is his biggest obstacle to winning his seventh Cup. Sadly, it was a simple seal that ruined Jimmie's hopes. On this day, it appeared a mechanical issue was Jimmie's 'Achilles Seal.'"

7. Brad Keselowski — Keselowski finished 16th in the AAA 400, making his way to the next round of the Chase.

"It wasn't pretty," Keselowski said, "but the No. 2 Wurth Ford Fusion, after a rough start, came through when it counted. You could say it was 'Wurth' the wait."

8. Kurt Busch — Busch finished 17th at Dover and claimed his spot in the next round of the Chase.

"I think NASCAR was a bit disappointed," Busch said. "This was a high pressure elimination race, and the only thing that got punched was a ticket."

9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. — Earnhardt, needing a strong finish to make the Chase, took third at Dover to advance to the next round, but just barely. Earnhardt took the 12th and final spot, tied with Jamie McMurray in points but advancing by virtue of a tiebreaker.

"I heard a strange sound," Earnhardt said. "It turned out I was almost done in by a loose wheel. Ironically, I 'squeaked' by."

10. (tie): Jeff Gordon — Gordon finished 12th at Dover and made his way to the round of 12.

"The 'Drive For Five' is still alive," Gordon said. "If I could win my fifth Sprint Cup title in my final season, it would be the most emotional experience of my life. That's why I'm calling my quest 'Once More With Feeling.'"

10. (tie): Jimmie Johnson — Johnson suffered a rear axle seal failure at Dover, forcing him to the garage and ending his hopes of advancing to the round of 12. Johnson finished 41st, and won't be winning his seventh Sprint Cup title.

"That was a $5 part," Johnson said. "The sad part is, I had to pay for it."

Contents copyright © Sports Central 1998-2017